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NETL-led research is offering groundbreaking insight into the mysteries of methane hydrate formation and behavior by enabling pore-scale observation in natural conditions for the first time ever. The impactful data gleaned from this research will inform future efforts to produce clean, affordable and reliable energy from these abundant natural gas resources. Methane hydrate is a cage-like lattice of ice that forms underwater at low-temperature, high-pressure conditions, trapping molecules of methane — the chief constituent of natural gas — inside. The amount of carbon stored in gas hydrate deposits worldwide is comparable to the volume stored in all conventional fossil fuels combined, offering promising possibilities to meet global energy needs. Yet, researchers have previously only speculated as to how methane hydrates form in nature due to inadequate methods of scientific investigation.
NETL Welcomes Case Western Reserve University for Oil & Gas Talk
NETL welcomed an esteemed lecturer and other representatives from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) May 28 to share insights on managing oil and natural gas data for unconventional resources. Jeffrey Yarus, a CWRU lecturer and recently retired Halliburton Technology Fellow for Landmark, presented a talk entitled “Rethinking Geoscience, Industry and Academia: The Impact of Digitalization” to Lab employees at the invitation of NETL Senior Fellow Grant Bromhal. Yarus was accompanied by CWRU’s Chris Littman, business development director and operations manager of the Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension Center, and Beverly Saylor, professor of stratigraphy and sedimentology, for his visit to the Pittsburgh site.
Carbon Capture Event
NETL will host its first comprehensive annual project review meeting to showcase cutting-edge research under four Office of Fossil Energy research programs aimed at developing novel technological solutions to America’s energy challenges during a weeklong session Aug. 26-30 in Pittsburgh. The inaugural Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage, and Oil and Gas Technologies Integrated Project Review Meeting, “Addressing the Nation’s Energy Needs Through Technology Innovation,” will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. All interested parties are welcome to participate; registration is required.
A leading-edge sensing technology developed by NETL researchers designed to enable more flexible operation of gas-fired power plants is advancing toward commercialization as part of a partnership with turbine manufacturer Solar Turbines Incorporated. NETL’s Raman Gas Analyzer provides the capability for real-time control of turbine machinery based on fuel composition. A cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Solar Turbines provided testing to help advance this technology toward commercialization. Its eventual implementation will enable more flexible operation of gas-fired power plants, creating clean, affordable power from domestic fuel sources.
Brian Anderson
NETL welcomed representatives from 13 universities nationwide this week to share their successes in strategic fossil energy research areas including advanced combustion, oil and gas, carbon capture, carbon storage, carbon use and reuse, gasification and fuel cell technologies. The University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through NETL, hosted its annual technical review meeting at the Lab’s Pittsburgh site May 22-23. The six-year, $20-million initiative aims to tackle critical fossil energy research challenges in collaboration with partner universities. “The annual technical review meeting provides a valuable opportunity for UCFER members to present their ongoing research and exchange ideas with NETL collaborators,” said Omer Bakshi, DOE project officer for UCFER. The UCFER initiative launched in 2015 and continues through September 2021. To date, more than $6 million has been awarded to 23 projects in three rounds of funding. Representatives from eight schools attended the annual technical review meeting to provide updates on 17 active projects.
FOA Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected 10 projects to receive nearly $4 million in federal funding for strategic fossil energy and coal technology research and development at U.S. colleges and universities. The projects are supported through funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001991, University Training and Research for Fossil Energy Applications. DOE selected these projects as part of FE’s University Training and Research initiative, which seeks to develop the next generation of science and engineering professionals in the fossil energy sector. The initiative encompasses FE’s University Coal Research (UCR) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) programs, the latter of which aims to increase the participation of underrepresented students in such research. The selected projects will achieve the following:
NETL Director Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D., joined U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) leaders in Washington, D.C., today to formally launch the Lab’s 10-year partnership with ExxonMobil and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Per agreements announced May 8, ExxonMobil is investing up to $100 million in cooperative research and development endeavors to advance groundbreaking low-emissions energy technologies toward commercial scale. Anderson, NREL Director Martin Keller and ExxonMobil Vice President of Research & Development Vijay Swarup signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) and supporting agreements to execute the partnership during a public ceremony at the Forrestal Building, home of DOE headquarters. DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes, DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg and DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons were also on hand for the ceremonial signing, which marks one of the largest public-private partnerships between DOE laboratories and the private sector to date.
NETL manages a vast portfolio of carbon capture research and development (R&D) projects that are successfully reducing costs to ensure the availability of clean, reliable and affordable energy from America’s abundant domestic resources. In 2007, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that current and projected atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.  Carbon capture technologies reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by capturing carbon dioxide from fossil energy-fueled power plants; however, existing technologies add additional costs for industry and consumers. NETL is leveraging cutting-edge research facilities, world-class technical expertise and strategic collaborations to develop efficient and economical solutions that make carbon capture technology viable for decades to come.
NETL is battling the destructive effects of corrosion and other risks to the natural gas pipeline infrastructure by developing fiber-optic sensor systems that can monitor vital natural gas pipelines from within. The data will provide critical information for early detection and help avoid expensive pipeline failures to maintain affordable, reliable energy for consumers. Natural gas pipelines are arteries that fuel many of the nation’s fossil-energy power plants. However, like all metals, every inch of pipe is susceptible to corrosion. According to worldwide corrosion authority NACE International, corrosion adds billions of dollars to operation and maintenance expenses each year. Amongst other benefits, mitigating these preventable costs could result in lower energy bills for consumers.
DOE Cyber
NETL’s Chief Information Officer Antonio Ferreira, Ph.D., and Kelly Rose, Ph.D., a geo-data scientist in the Lab’s Research and Innovation Center, participated in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Cyber Conference, May 14-16, 2019, in Denver, Colorado. The conference brought together the DOE enterprise, federal interagency partners, academia, international collaborators and private industry to advance cyber and information technology (IT) modernization efforts across DOE's diverse and shared missions.